Posts tagged ‘soup’
46F was our high today. With sprinkly rain and gloomy clouds. On April 23. That is cold, friends! Winter has not seemed to get the memo: GO AWAY. The trees are blooming, the birds are singing, the clocks have changed, and my sweaters are looking worn and tired. I have a new spring dress that is begging to be worn. The weather is just not cooperating with me here! Where is SPRING?
The only thing that can make a dreary and cold day better is soup, and this one hit the spot! This soup was inspired by a recent trip to the Asian food market. I was excited to see inexpensive Kabocha squash, so picked one up along with a bag of baby Bok choy. As I paid for my purchases, the squash rang up as “Japanese pumpkin.” And the idea for what would become of the Kabocha squash was born: miso soup! The bok choy and the squash seemed to be natural soup add-ins, and the mushrooms were a last minute thought to add texture and more body. Tofu would also be a natural addition, but I did not have any on hand and do not always love how soggy it gets in leftover soup. I used a “minute miso” paste to create this soup, which made prep minimal. I have never worked with real miso paste, so am not quite sure what modifications that would add, but most bottles come with general instructions on how to create the basic miso broth! Overall, this soup comes together in 35-40 minutes, with most of the cook time added from the roasted squash.
Is your town’s weather uncooperative as well? Then give this soup a try!
Kabocha, Mushroom and Baby Bok Choy Miso Soup
Vegan, serves 4 as main course or 6-8 as starter
1 clove garlic, minced
8-oz package white button mushrooms, sliced
6 heads baby Bok choy, stems cut off with leaves roughly quartered and separated
1 kabocha squash, sliced into 1-inch strips
1/4 cup miso paste
4 cups hot water
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp sesame seed oil
Half the kabocha squash, and then cut into slices. Toss lightly with half of the sesame seed oil, then lightly salt and pepper to taste. Roast in a 400F oven for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, saute sliced mushrooms in garlic and remaining sesame seed oil. Add the soy sauce, then cook until half of the liquid is absorbed. Add the bok choy, then turn off heat.
Meanwhile, bring water to boil in a kettle. Measure out 1/4 cup miso paste and add to a large 4-cup measure. Add boiling water to bring the total volume to 4 cups. Stir, then pour over the vegetable mixture. Stir the greens until they are well wilted.
Once the kabocha squash is finished roasting, remove from oven and gently peel back the skin with a fork. Cut into chunks and add to soup. Bring soup back to a boil, then remove from heat. Stir and serve warm.
Despite being rather absent from the blog scene lately, I am happy to accept Sara @ My Less Serious Life‘s shout out for the Liebster Award. This is my second time being passed along this honor, and I am always happy to join in the fun! The award is passed between bloggers to recognize up and coming writers with less than 200 followers. After sharing 5 fun facts, you pass the award along to 5 more blog friends! First, the friends, then the facts!
1. Lauren @ Whole Wheat or Bust
2. Melanie @ Little Green Homemaker
3. Stefanie @ A Dash of Sugar and Spice
4. Kim @ Badger Girl Learns to Cook
5. Allison @ Allison’s Delicious Life
Now for the fun facts… This might be a challenge given the current monotony of my life!
1. I am a movie narcoleptic. If I sit down for a movie anywhere past 9pm and am remotely relaxed and/or reclined, I will fall asleep. Yet somehow, I will manage to wake up as the credits are rolling. I usually think I am sneaky enough that no one noticed, but that is never true.
2. I ran my first 5K on Sunday! I am participating in the Boston Athletic Association’s Distance Medley, which kicked off this weekend. I had been working on my speed with sprints and intervals, so was excited to clock in a pretty good time. However, the race was so crowded that I could hardly move for the first mile! After running a 10 minute mile amongst 7,000 other runners, I gave up all time goals and just enjoyed the sunshine and the fact that so many people were participating in such a fun event!
3. I failed at freezing leftovers last week for the first time ever. I thought I was being clever, freezing soup in my mason jars instead of more delicate plastic Tupperware. However, I filled the jars way too full and they cracked. Then I cut two of my fingers retrieving the glass and soup shards from the freezer. Smart. Lesson learned.
4. I also have been cooking a lot less, relying instead on salads, sandwiches and frozen leftovers. Except for when they explode in my freezer… then I have savory oatmeal for dinner.
5. I have been spending so much time in my
desk chair study throne in front of my computer that often the last thing I want to do during the last hour of my evening is come up with a blog post. I have mentioned before, but I am currently preparing to take the USMLE Step 1 at the end of May. This is the first part of my medical board examinations, and is essentially a 2 year cumulative final. It has been a stressful semester, and is culminating with what is ominously referred to as “Intensive Study Period.” Although my classes officially end Friday, I will spend the next month spending 12+ hours a day, 6 days a week chained to my study throne. I expect that my posts will be sporadic, but I will still be making time to cook, run, sleep and read a few posts now and then!
I can’t leave you without a recipe idea until the end of May! If you are in the Northeast and have found yourself with some spring dug turnips, then this soup is for you! I am more than thrilled that root vegetable season is on its way out and that more local variety is coming back, but this soup was flavorful and different enough to satiate my creative appetite! I adapted the recipe from the Boston Organics website to make it a little healthier, and accidentally vegan. The soup is hearty like any good chowder, and remarkably filling from the protein boost (thanks to tofu in place of cream). This is also the soup that caused my mason jar accident, and I am sad I will not get to enjoy the leftovers! Guess that just means I will have to make it again!
serves 6-8, adapted from here
2 tbsp Earth Balance
1 large onion, diced
1 lb parsnips, peeled and diced
1 lb potatoes, peeled and diced
2 vegetable bouillon cubes
5 cups water
1 block tofu, pressed and drained
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp dried parsley
In a large pot, saute the onions in the butter until tender. Add the parsnips and potatoes. Cover with water and dissolve the bouillon cubes. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the cubed tofu and simmer for 5 more minutes. Use an immersion blender to process into a smooth soup. Add parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper. Allow to stand for 1 hour before serving to allow the flavor of the parsnips to shine through.
Well, time sure flies! I would apologize for being a negligent blogger, but sometimes life is full and takes up more time than expected, and I am not one to regret living it. Between running home to visit my new nephew, getting fancied up for the school formal, going to New Hampshire with my Christian Medical Dental Association for a weekend, and catching up with old friends who are now in different cities for medical school, I would say I have had my fair share of fun over the past few weeks! This also meant that I had to buckle down last week to study for my neurology exam, and so blogging took a necessary hiatis. It was somewhat freeing to spend a little less time in front of my computer screen, but that doesn’t mean I still wasn’t in the kitchen! I have a few fun recipes backlogged from the last few weeks to share, kicking it off with an awesome Vegan Groundnut Stew.
One of my good friends in college, who is now in med school in the midwest, was visiting last weekend for her Spring Break. During our sophomore year of college, she came home and stayed with my family for Thanksgiving. After indulging in all of our American traditions, my mom and I wanted to try something from my friend’s culture. She is originally from Nigeria, so we decided to try out Groundnut Stew. We made the traditional version, to which my friend deemed worthy by stating, “It smells authentic.” A huge compliment coming from Joy! And it tasted pretty good, too! I haven’t thought much about that stew since then, but wanted to try a vegetarian version for my friend’s latest visit. Groundnuts are another term for peanuts, so this soup is pantry-item friendly if you are a peanut butter lover and always have some on hand. It has a good amount of heat to it, and a lot of creaminess, giving it a unique depth and richness. Instead of the traditional meat, I found a recipe from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen that uses sweet potatoes and chickpeas. My friends loved it, even with the modifications. Try this soup out – it is fun, easy, and cheap!
Question: What is one exciting thing you have done in the last week?
Adapted from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen, serves 6-8
1 onion, chopped
2 jalapenos, seeded and finely chopped
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
2 14.5 ounce cans chopped tomatoes
2 14.5 ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 large bunch kale, stemmed and chopped
1 ½ cups vegetable broth
½ cup natural peanut butter
Saute onion, jalapenos, ginger and garlic in a splash of water. After 5 minutes or until onions soften, add spices and stir to combine. Add cubed sweet potatoes, tomatoes and chickpeas. Cover with vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to simmer for thirty minutes. When potatoes are tender, stir in the peanut butter. When well combined, add the chopped kale and allow to wilt. Serve.
How quickly a month goes by! Somehow, it is already February 1st, punctuated by the fact that it wasn’t pitch dark when I left the clinic at 5pm yesterday, and by the end of our month long vegan challenge! I will be back soon to share thoughts from my mom, dad, and friend, but for now, my food and thoughts on my last day as a vegan!
I had a full day yesterday, scheduled to shadow a clinical pharmacist from 8:30am-12:30pm and perform an observed physical exam from 1-5pm. A busy day must start with a good breakfast! I enjoyed some reheated whipped banana oats with a few blueberries, fresh banana slices, and sunflower seed butter stirred in.
Breakfast must have been good because I wasn’t hungry until I broke out my salad! A big bed of greens with green bell peppers, carrots, chickpeas, avocado and balsamic viniagrette. A pear as a palate cleanser, all enjoyed with a bottle of iced tea from the cafeteria. (I left my water bottle at yoga on Saturday and my hydration has seriously been lacking since then! Good thing my friend grabbed it for me so I should have it back soon…)
I definitely got hungry midafternoon, but was too busy to have time to take care of it. By the time I got home, I was ravenous! Good thing I could make 5-minute microwave soup… all from scratch! Check out Monday’s post about my vegan broccoli cheddar soup, which I made and enjoyed again after my long day.
I munched on some air popped popcorn, dusted with cocoa powder, cinnamon and sugar. A sweet treat to end the night, along with some chammomile tea and a handful of trail mix for good measure.
I have enjoyed exploring vegan eating over the past month, and am surprised at how quickly I adapted to a life without cheese. If I could live in my own insular apartment and always cook for myself, I would love to stay vegan. However, I am still in a very social part of my life right now, and potlucks and being hosted by friends and family is a greater priority for me. I do not want to wear the label of vegan, but will continue to cut back on the amount of dairy I consume. I am striving for balance, not perfection, and this is what seems right for me. I will be back soon with my parents thoughts on how they will continue!
Question: How do you handle hunger when you don’t have time to take a break?
Growing up, my sister and I loved helping my mom out in the kitchen. We loved mixing, chatting, and wearing fun aprons. My personal favorite: a red cloth apron emblazoned with white letters proclaiming, “Got more time for misbehavin’, since I started microwavin’!” We still have that apron, and I still wear it when I am at home. Personally, my microwave is my least utilized kitchen tool. I reheat leftovers in it, but that is about it. I can’t seem to microwave oatmeal without it exploding, I make air popped popcorn, and rarely find other uses for this kitchen staple. That was true until I made this soup!
I blame the craving I had for Broccoli Cheddar Soup that came over me on two circumstances: the rainy day and my afternoon of studying spent in Panera. I used to love this soup in a bread bowl from Panera, but haven’t had it in a long time since it is not vegetarian (made with chicken broth). I searched for some vegan recipes online, but didn’t want to spend a lot of time making a whole pot of soup since I needed to finish up some studying before going out for the night. I decided to experiment, try my luck with the microwave, and hope for the best! The resulting soup was so much better than I could have even hoped for – perfectly salty, broccoli laden, and a little creamy. Reminiscent of my favorite Panera soup, but with a much better nutrition profile. So easy that it requires about 10 minutes total prep and cooking time, and clean up is a breeze since you only use one dish. My picture for proof of this is somehow corrupted, but at least these few survived! I made my own mini-bread bowl for a few bites of soup by hollowing out a sourdough roll – craving fulfilled. This will definitely be a soup I will make often! No matter what your skill level is in the kitchen, give this a try – it is foolproof!
Microwavable Broccoli Cheddar Soup
Inspired by Novel Eats, serves 1
1/4 small onion, chopped
1 tsp vegan butter
1/2 white potato, peeled and diced
1 cup vegetable broth
1/2 small crown of broccoli, sliced into small florets
2 tbsp almond milk
3 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp Dijon mustard
pinch kosher salt
In a large microwave safe bowl, combine onion and butter. Microwave for 2 minutes so that onions soften. Add the diced potato and vegetable broth. Microwave on high for 2 minutes; stir, then microwave for 2 more minutes. Add the broccoli florets and cook for 1 more minute. Remove from microwave. Stir together the almond milk, nutritional yeast, Dijon mustard, and salt; then mix into soup. Enjoy with a side of bread.
Is it Wednesday already? I have mixed feelings of both elation and dread, for Wednesday is so close to Friday. I am officially on Christmas vacation on Friday, but there is a pesky exam that stands in the way of me and that break! Med school is interesting in that we don’t have finals this year. Our schedule is blocked by system, so we focus on one organ or group of organs for two to three weeks at a time and are then tested on it. It makes it so we don’t face crazy exam weeks, but also makes it feel like we are always gearing up for an exam! My workload has been the same since August, but my motivation has precipitously declined since getting back from Thanksgiving. Hence, both the elation and dread for Friday to finally come. Enough rambling, here is a peek into my eats while studying for my last exam of 2011! The theme of today: finding and using anything in the fridge that won’t last over Christmas break.
I am sick, again! (I really thought that was just last month, but apparently it was in September! Where does time go!?) My throat is scratchy and feels swollen, but no other cold symptoms… I figured that a liquid breakfast would help my throat feel a bit better, and would also help me finish off a can of pumpkin. I saw this idea on Pinterest (yes, I’m addicted… more on that on Friday!) and adapted it to use what I had on hand. The results were pretty tasty, definitely reminiscent of pumpkin pie filling. It was easy on my throat, as well as the Nutcracker tea I drank on the side. Coffee makes my scratchy throat feel even worse, so I had to do without today.
Throwing together some more random tidbits, I made a
breakfast brunch burrito that was really tasty! It took almost no time to assemble and was protein and veggie packed for a long afternoon of studying.
I finished my lunch off with a Stonyfield blueberry yogurt, topped off with some frozen blueberries and a few walnut pieces. I also had a big mug of peppermint tea with honey, in a futile attempt to soothe my throat. I survived an afternoon meeting and a few hours of library studying, but retreated home quickly. I grabbed some Sugar Free Riccola cough drops from Rite Aid on my way home, and munched on those, some carrots, and a handful of trail mix while studying in more comfy sweats. The clementine was saved for an after dinner treat – delicious and packed with good-for-sick-me vitamin C, but it burned my poor sore throat!
All of those cough drops took away my appetite, so I was working away until 7:30 before realizing I needed to made dinner! I was tempted to pull out some frozen leftovers, but I still need to make my way through fridge food first! My last creation of the day was my favorite: Antipasto Black Bean Soup. Featuring an onion caramelized in Balsamic vinegar, sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, black beans and sage. Heaven in a snowman mug, warming my throat with every sip.
Question: What is the best thing you ate today?
It snowed in October, and now it’s almost 70 degrees? Can someone tell the weather on the East Coast to stop messing around? Darkness at 4 pm and a noon run in shorts cannot coexist in my mind. But whether or not my mind is okay with it, that was my day! Thanks to Jenn for another WIAW – head over to check out other blogs for meal inspiration and recipes, and maybe join in next time! Here is a glimpse into my unseasonal day.
My newest blog project is to come up with a different flavor of oatmeal for 30 days. It was the brainchild of my roommate and friend Jon, and I am excited to see what delicious bowls come of it! I am sticking with just hot oatmeal, no baked or overnight oats or other fancy things. Just simple, low sugar, healthy and hot oatmeal bowls! Today was supposed to recreate a sugar cookie (with very little sugar, of course!) but had too much banana flavor. Banana oats aren’t bad though! I have an idea or two to get the sugar cookie oatmeal just right… like my page on Facebook for early previews of some oatmeal creations along the way!
Pre-run snack: 11am
Studying took longer than expected this morning. I wanted to be on my run by 11am so I could just eat lunch when I got back, but a few tough kidney problems (and chatty friends ;)) got in the way of that! To tide my hunger and keep me going for my run, I snacked on a homemade Larabar for pre-run fuel. I made these a few weeks ago, and they are still good out of the Tupperware in my fridge!
Did I have time to run for an hour? Not really. But the sunshine was taunting me through the window all morning and I just couldn’t resist. I set out in the beautiful weather, in shorts and a T-shirt (crazy!), for what is likely my last long run along the waterfront. I covered 7.1 miles and enjoyed every minute of it, not worrying about my pace or an upcoming training goal or the studying that faced me when I returned. I will still run outside during the winter, but it gets too windy to run along the water (I almost got blown away last week!) so this was probably my last time running one of my favorite routes until spring.
I always thought that a pita pizza was a common concept, but I am finding out that many of my friends have never heard of it. So spread the news about a cheater’s homemade pizza! This is a fast, easy, and fun way to get some veggies! To take it over the top, I like to make a slit in my pita and stuff it with a bit of cheese. So today for lunch, I enjoyed not just any pizza, but stuffed crust pita pizza. A bit of simple homemade sauce (just canned tomatoes and paste mixed together) with spinach, red pepper, and onion on top? Enough said. This kept me pretty full even after a long run, so my afternoon snack was just an unpictured apple and some unsweetened iced tea at Panera this afternoon.
I had some kale to use up and a friend coming for dinner, so I knew a soup was in my future! I wanted something a little different, so I tried out this recipe from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen for a North African Chickpea and Kale soup. Even without the saffron, the soup was still delicious! Warming wasn’t exactly what we needed on such an unseasonably warm evening, but we enjoyed the light spiciness of the broth! My friend contributed bread from Au Bon Pain, and brought dessert along as well! Whatever these were (Coconut Cherry Macroons dipped in chocolate, I think?) they were ah-mazing. I love coconut, and these were so great to savor slowly over great conversation, laughter and tears. I ended my night with more tea and a few handfuls of granola while cramming for my upcoming exam. Hopefully I have studied enough today between running, blogging and socializing, to do what I need to on this exam!
Question: What is your favorite pizza topping?
There is currently a battle of will going on at my house. Jen and Marie vs. the cold, cold apartment. The apartment is winning, but we refuse to give up… yet. We could turn the heat on, but it just seems so soon for that! Boston obviously missed that memo – we saw our first few snow flakes this evening! Instead of admitting defeat, we are covering our windows with the insulating plastic wrap, wrapping ourselves in blankets, drinking copious amounts of tea, and finding every excuse to stand near the stove or oven for long periods of time…
This Thai Carrot Soup is that excuse. Serve it with some homemade bread or dinner rolls, and you have two of your bases covered! I planned on making this recipe from Frugal Feeding to use up some of the huge carrots I got in my Boston Organics box. I quickly realized that I didn’t have all of the ingredients, and wasn’t willing to step into the freezing rain (and for anyone unfamiliar with New England, this doesn’t mean cold rain, it literally means frozen rain drops) to go to the store. I improvised a bit, but the soup was still tasty! Some changes I made: I substituted lemon juice for the lemon grass, chili flakes for the red chilis, and left out the cilantro. I added some toasted coconut to the top, which ended up balancing out the kick to the soup in the absence of the cilantro. Spicy and warming – the perfect cure for a cold apartment.
Even better – soup makes a perfect “frozen dinner,” essential for busy nights when you are starving and don’t have time to pull together a proper meal! Having frozen leftovers on hand has helped me avoid the typical student pizza deliveries or sad pasta dinners that plague many of my busy friends. Soups and chilis tend to freeze well, but rice has not given me as much luck.
Question: What are you cooking to stay warm as the weather begins to chill? What leftovers have you successfully, or unsuccessfully, turned into frozen meals?